Feeling ambivalent about snow lately?
Well, get into a comfortable lamenting position, look forward to la melting, and I’ll proceed to tell you how snow is beneficial. Microbial ecologists are doing just that as we speak. Take it from them, snow is a good thing.
- A blanket of snow acts as an insulation to your garden soil. I suppose that means keeping warmth in and keeping cold temperatures out.
- Snow adds nitrogen to soil, “the poor man’s fertilizer.” A slow melting of snow will add nitrogen in a time-release fashion and benefit your garden. (A fast melt leads to floods and run-off benefiting no one and no water way.)
- As long as there is snow, there are chemical exchanges going on in the soil underneath and microbes are fueling chemical decomposition. Without the snow, this action slows or stops in a bare frozen soil.
- Yes, while a heavy storm may cause the loss of some tree branches, perennials and fragile tree roots are actually stressed less when covered with snow, and bulbs stay put with less soil heave.
- And one last thing— look forward to nights of below zero to kill off tree-devouring pests moving in from the South.
I hope this information helps, but I’ll understand if you are still looking at your shovel as half full instead of half empty.
A good place to learn about all this is at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies located in the mid-Hudson River, NY area (Millbrook).
The Institute is dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge about ecosystems. Much of its acreage has been set aside for scientific research but the public may visit. See their website to learn how you can experience it. http://www.ecostudies.org/index.html
Nancy R. Peck